Miranda Priestley once said, ‘Florals in Spring? Ground-breaking.’ and we all recoiled because, as if the Cerulean Sweater incident in The Devil Wears Prada wasn’t enough to make us feel fantastically un-chic, then, this was. Florals and Spring are like Summer and Sun. One demands the other. But Miranda Priestley tells us that they have a love affair that is unrequited. One calls out into the crisp, clear morning and the other does not come running.
Spring demands flowers. It’s the hour of rebirth, of buds and, of blossom. But it’s not the flowers who need the Spring. Miranda makes the point that there are people who know this, and people who don’t and that those who don’t are impossibly un-ground-breaking. What she indicates here is a fashion concept that is rarely, explicitly highlighted. Fashion is countenance.
Many people believe that what we dress ourselves in is simply something that matches our external environment. When it’s cold, we wear a coat. At the office, we wear formal elegance. At dinner, we wear glamour and poise. In Spring, we wear florals. But what fashion really is, what fashion tries to be and tries to explain, is that what we wear is far more an expression of our internal environment. What you adorn yourself with, how you present yourself, can be as truer pronouncement of your outlook as a signed declaration. A fragment of this we know. When you dress in a matching two-piece, crisp lines, tailored chic, you come across as put together, in control, organised, classy, well-mannered… And, while this is true, what’s more important and rarely talked about is that dressing as such creates the illusion in your own mind that you just might be these things. There’s a reason why red lipstick is a weapon.
People say you should dress for yourself, and that is true. People say you should develop a style and this might be true. If dressing up (or dressing down) has the power to evoke a whole new personality trait inside of you, then you’re free to dress however you might want to feel that day. Dress elegant to feel elegant, dress comfortable to feel comfortable, button up, button down…whatever liberates you from your chains and anxiety.
I believe this is what fashion trends intend to do. They’re not about matching our patterned coats and cut of trousers to the seasons. Fashion trends, the fashion seasons, are about evoking a feeling, a hidden streak of something inside of you, of unlocking something within. We dress to know who we are; people disrobe to feel free of labels. Uniforms exist to create unity in belief and convictions amongst a collective. Fashion trends reach out to us and ask us who we want to be right now. The leaves have fallen. Do you want to be floating like them or do you want to be cut crisp? Fashion’s best asset is her impermanence, but our sense of self has this virtue as well. We can always change who we want to be, at any moment, at the drop of a leaf. We’re always one shopping trip away from being someone else entirely. If you want to be adorned in flowers, striking and admired, you don’t have to wait for the Spring.
Eric Roth once wrote, ‘I hope you have the courage to start all over again’ and maybe that’s the sentiment we’re trying to evoke with Spring, with florals. To bloom once more. To be fresh, to be lovely and to be new. This sentiment we should keep. It’s a nice thought to have when there are peonies on your dress, but what we should remember about the fashion seasons, and about Miranda Priestley, is that we don’t need to wait until the seasons align to do so. If starting again, if being jovial and fresh is what we’re after, why not start now in Autumn, or Mid-Winter, or late Summer? Why is it only Spring in which florals can be seen on restless bodies, fresh from the heavy hibernation of the woollen winter coat?